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Why You Should Measure HRV and the Best Devices on the Market: With Dr. Marco Altini

Updated: Jul 22, 2022

SO many devices and metrics. But can they really help you recovery and perform better?

What about HRV?

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Heart rate variability (HRV) is getting a lot of attention these days, as are other metrics on devices that measure 'recovery' and 'stress scores'. I wanted to get clear on the differences between these data, how athletes can use them, how accurate they are and what the most accurate devices and apps on the market are.

Don't worry, if this is all new, I've got you! This is the exact purpose of the podcast, to demystify this topic.

HRV is related to the heart and measuring physiological stress. Essentially it's the variability between the times between each heartbeat. Since our heart does not beat at a consistent frequency, the time between heart beats can be more constant or more variable and that's what HRV is measuring.

Rather than get into how the autonomic nervous system relates to this, I will let Dr. Marco Altini explain! We made sure to keep this simplified so that it translates to all listeners. There's so much more to learn and understand about why HRV is relevant and how understanding yours can help you manage your training load and recovery.

To make sure I got all the facts, I reached out to Dr. Marco Altini.

Dr. Altini, who has been working in the HRV space for over a decade is on the scientific advisory board for OURA ring, has worked with Strava and has his own app which also measures HRV.

I've read several of his studies and am impressed with his background for it's well roundedness that suits this passion perfectly.

Dr. Altini has his PhD in applied machine learning, a M.Sc. in computer science engineering and is currently enrolled in a M.Sc. in human movement sciences and high-performance

coaching. He has published more than 50 papers and patents related to physiology, health, technology and human performance. Currently, he is leading product development & research for HRV4Training, he’s also a passionate runner and today we talk about his first experience at a 100km running race and what he’s doing for his comeback for version 2.0. It’s always great when guests are putting the science into motion personally and professionally as many of my guests do.

We did our best to make this podcast super accessible by defining terms and physiology upfront. Grab a pen and paper though as there's a lot to remember!

Here's what you'll learn today:

  • What's the autonomic nervous system?

  • What is heart rate variability (HRV) '

  • How do you interpret the numbers you read on your device?

  • Why you shouldn't compare your HRV numbers o anyone elses

  • How accurate the data?

  • What can throw your HRV numbers off?

  • How do nutrition and sleep can impact HRV?

  • How HRV and heart rate differ and why one may be a more telling metric

  • How does menstrual cycle impacts HRV?

  • When should you measure your HRV?

  • What improvements need to be made to make the data you receive even better?

  • Why HRV is not GOOD or BAD - yet it's personalized

  • How to overcome adversity with Dr. Marco Altini (how does he manage?)

I love this topic and I'm super keen to dive into measuring my HRV now and to keep learning. If you want some more written insights into the topic, sign up for my newsletter because I'll be clarifying even more about HRV there. Head to the bottom of any page on my website (you're on it now!) and fill in the SUSBRIBE form today.

To learn more about Dr. Marco Altini you can visit his website HRV4Training, or find him on Twitter or Instagram.

Thank you for listening and being a part of this community. To be updated on episodes head over to Imperfect Progress at Apple or Spotify and SUBSCRIBE today. Along with supporting my sponsor Inside Tracker this is the best way you can support me and this podcast.

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Let me know what you thought of the podcast, head over and leave a start rating and a comment at Apple and/or Spotify and tag me on your favorite social media platform. I'm @guzmannutrition on Twitter and @guzmananne on Instagram.

As always, remember that life is imperfect, progress is imperfect and you are not alone in the headwind during those tough times. Enjoy the momentum when it comes, and remember that that through struggle comes change and growth. Everyone here is rooting you on. Success isn't linear and if it was it likely wouldn't be as satisfying. Stay the course, show up for you and keep moving forward. Cheers.

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